Top 10 Posts of 2013

December 31, 2013

What a year! Thank you all, so much, for being part of The Unreal Life! I hope you'll stick around and continue to sass and school me through your comments. Happy New Year to each and every one of you!!

The 5 Assholes You'll Date in College: Part 2
Not sure why most of you just skipped to the end without reading the beginning but...the votes are in and you all liked Part 2 the best. I do too.

The 5 Assholes You'll Date in College: Part 1
The post that started it all. Literally.
The first post I ever published.

Dating Disasters: Cuddling
This was literally the biggest dating disaster. It still takes the cake. 
No, stranger--you cannot fondle me in the arm.

9 Stages of a Skype Date
Most epic dancing lizard GIF ever, no wonder it was popular.

Bow Wow, Bling Wow
Wait...people actually read weekend update posts? 

Because we picked a weird ass hobby, yo.

Dating Disasters
Like an appetizer sampler of all my worst dating disaster stories. 
Because nothing says romance like Bass Pro Shops.

Customer of the Week: Dating Advice
On how my customers found my blog, and taught me to find love.

Dear Crazy Bitch
Angst (and great gifs).

Thief is the Comparison of Joy...or something like that
My personal pick for 2013. 

What were some of your favorite posts of 2013?
What are you looking forward to in 2014?

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State of: Blogging 2014

December 30, 2013

Who knows what this post will turn out to be. Partial weekend update. Partial Freud analysis. Partial broad, sweeping generalizations without saying anything. Absolute, crazy ramblings? Yes. That I can guarantee. 

Here's the thing. I haven't been blogging as much of late. As I mentioned earlier, part of that is because I am being insanely harsh on myself with where I am in life right now and that's not really something pretty to blog about. I've started and stopped more posts than I can count. When I started looking back through my posts to do a year in review summary, I became positively fed up with how cheerful they were. Five posts a week of absolute. bullshit. Not that I want this space to become depressing, or grim or even my personal journal. But. I do want it to be an accurate reflection of my life. And life is not all sassy moments and giggles. Mostly. But not always. 

It's hard to balance how much truth to let out on this little space. Because of course in any of our lives, we are not the sole characters. And so not only do I struggle with how much "real," I struggle with respecting the privacy of the other main actors in my life. Blogging is a very solo act. And sometimes that's great, but that's also not very real.

Back and forth back and forth. 

I think the second straw that broke the proverbial back was the latest link-up that went around about "If I were telling the truth...." Did I absolutely love the idea? Yes. Did I love how purely honest women got about hating blogging, doubting themselves and getting jealous? Yes. Did I hate that it took a one-time-only link-up to make people feel it was acceptable to voice the negative for once in their life? YES. Why do we only share our struggles and messy parts when someone decides it's okay for a 10 day link up? Yes, I want to be uplifted when I come to Bloglandia. Yes, I want to giggle. But I also don't want to feel like shit because I'm being painted a fake picture that all these talented, well-rounded women have their lives together 24/7/365 with plenty of time for DIY, nail painting and wine sipping. Because that's not real. And it should be okay to talk about what we're struggling with more than once a year when a link-up goes big. (Though it was a great link-up, don't get me wrong.)

Basically, I've found two things in looking back at an almost-year's worth of blogging. 
1) My posts are not fully reflective of the wide spectrum of life. I describe my blog as Unreal--both the "hysterically how do you get yourself in that situation" and the "this would only happen to you, how" situation. Mostly, I've been sticking to hysterical. I want to find a way to make it more reflective of the whole range of life, while still not making it a personal journal (though isn't that in actuality what they are?). 
2) If I can't write about everything, I tend to write about nothing. And I'd rather write than not write. So I'm sorry if you come here for the sass and are disappointed that there will be a broader spectrum of posts. The sass will still be there, frequently--that I can promise. But, I can't be sassy without everything else too. 

In the end, the struggle is this. I want the blog to be more honest, but I don't want to lose readers. I struggle with the idea that people come to Bloglandia for honesty. I think they come for a distraction. For entertainment. And sometimes honesty, but not too much. I've seen completely honest blogs fail while blogs with top-ten lists and sassy gifs who never publish "content" soar.  So, personal jury is still out on the priority of "honesty" in blogs.

And as for the weekend update, I've come to the end and realized that I'm not really ready to blog about that yet. Which seems unfair, to request prayers and yet say "but I can't tell you why." It makes me feel like I'm in 6th grade bargaining secrets for best friends. I don't know.

Sorry for the semi-shitty post. 

But in actuality, not sorry. 

And if you made it to the end of that long ass post, thank you! You win a puppy. Just kidding I don't have puppies.

How will your blog change in 2014? 
Why do you come to Bloglandia?

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Move Over, Carrie: You and Me and Her

December 21, 2013

Move Over, Carrie is a witty, whenever-I-feel-like-it series of The Unreal Life
where I talk about the sociology behind relationships, 
and all the trials of modern relationships that SATC missed.
No pictures, no GIFs--just writing. 
If you're new, you can check out the first Move Over, Carrie here

Today's topic: you, me and her. Or: bringing your ex to the dinner table (metaphorically speaking). 

This post has been bumping around in the ol' cranium for a while, but it came pounding and begging to be let out this week and so...I obliged. While not turning this into TMZ, let me try to give you a little back story. I offered to copy some pictures for M onto my computer. He doesn't own a computer, and E's mom wanted to take the camera card to Mexico next week to show her parents. Better safe than sorry, I said. Let me at least copy them so if crazy bitch spill tequila all over your camera card or still have them. He's shown me the pictures on the camera before. Essentially, I got a ten minute slideshow of baby E's entire life to date. So I wasn't thinking when I offered to copy them. I thought I'd seen them all. But I hadn't. Key words: they don't own a computer. Hence, every single photo since the time the camera got there has been on it. Every, single. Picture of their relationship.

And in true girl form, I freaked out. 

I promised him I'd copy them, keep them safe just in case she comes back sans camera card. But now there are pictures...of Her...on My computer. My first instinct was to delete them. Keep only the baby ones. But in all honesty....I'd be pissed if the situation were reversed and M deleted photos of my past relationships. I know that sounds weird. But it's my past, and I don't believe in erasing your past. What happened happened. Do I look at my ex boyfriends constantly? No. Do I want to never be able to remember those times ever again? No. It's my life, and my life is not something with deletable sections. It comes as is, good and bad and ugly and messy and sassy. What it came down to, is that I wanted to erase his past but would preciously defend my own if the situation was reversed.
Which got me thinking. To the point of this Move Over, Carrie: Why are we so defensive and protective of our own past, but want our significant other to come with no past at all? Why is it that we don't ever want to acknowledge the idea that they've wanted others before us, but have no problem acknowledging that we've wanted others before them? 

My little pro-bono therapist, blogger friend and all-around wonderful woman, Brooks, said this in response: "I think it's because we want to know we're the sole one they want and when we see the past "wanteds" we realize we weren't the only wants." I deeply resonate with this. I want to not only be the most wanted, I want to be so wanted it obliterates anyone else. 

And of course, my brain kept turning. The truth is, I've had a weird fascination with Her long before these photos. I have so many questions about Her. So many, that M has had to put an official "foot down" to more questions more than once. Because it's true, they eat me up. One question leads to more questions leads to more questions. And I can't quite put my finger on why. Is it because her presence is with us every Sunday when we take his daughter to brunch? Or with us every dinner when he starts absent-mindedly mumbling about child support payments, gas and grocery bills? Either way, She is there. And sometimes I think I'm so obsessed with Her....because none of my previous Hims are there.
Let me explain. M has never, not once, asked me about a previous boyfriend. He has zero interest, and has told me as such. I am his today and his future, and that was his past and my past (trust me, it's much more romantic with a cute little accent thrown in there). Which is completely different than previous relationships I've had. Let's admit it. How many times have you had that awkward "So, why did you end things with your ex?" or "How many people have you dated?" or any other various relationship-resume questions. Basically....sometimes I wonder if I don't feel intimidated by Her simply because there's no Him. She is, figuratively, always at the dinner table. But none of my past ever is, because it's never been brought up and never will be brought up by M. While this should make me feel free and adult and at ease, I'm realizing that it just makes me feel competitive. Competitive in the sense that I want to be able to say yes, others have wanted me before too. You're not the only one. 

Maybe it's easier to do it relationship-resume style where you get it all on the table, all the Ghosts of boyfriends and girlfriends past come to dinner and they distract each other with ghostly conversation while you two forge your future (go with me here). Because the truth is, without them there's no you. Without RRR and MMM and a slew of others, there's no me. Not in the sense of the me I am today. Because for better or worse, they taught me things. So am I pissed that their effect on my life is being denied/ignored? Am I pissed that my "want" as a woman is not being validated? I don't know. All I know, is that I'm pissed.

So. I toss it to you, faithful readers. I love your MOC comments the mostest, mostest. 

Would you rather have it all on the table? 
How do you treat your ghosts of girlfriends and boyfriends past?
And, most importantly, why do we want partners with a clean slate but cling to the beauty of our own messy past for leading us where we are today?

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A Flip in Perspective

December 17, 2013

Raise your hand if you've heard the question, or even asked it yourself, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Lately, I've seen this question playing out before my eyes in multiple scenarios. I certainly didn't go looking for the answer. And I certainly can't say that this is the answer. But, with those caveats, here is my jumble of thoughts. 

Who's on the other side of the "missed" blessing?

Two women I work with have experienced significant hardships in the past two months. One had a husband with a near-fatal heart attack, who is still not recovering well. The other tripped on some stairs and ended up having to get 100+ stitches all over her face. In both scenarios, they were out of work for over a month. No income, significant medical looks like the perfect scene for everyone to shake their heads and say "why do bad things happen to good people?" So why did these bad things happen? Because Autumn needed to make her car payment. Nicolette needed to pay for school. And Taylor needed rent money. That's right. Three, stereotypical broke (and in my case, always starving) waitresses benefited from these seeming "bad things to good people." While it sounds awful, we were slightly thrilled at the bad news because we needed those hours. While they were gone, it gave three broke college students time to get a little extra money that doesn't normally make itself magically available. 

And another scenario happened this past weekend. I needed some M time. Like some hard core, love on Autumn time. M gets one day off per week, and his priority that day is spending time with his daughter. Understandably so. We usually spend the day all three of us together. But for some reason (and as I type this, I realize I sound so needy)...I just needed a Sunday where it was the two of us, and not the three of us. Unfortunately there is no good way to ask your boyfriend to not see his toddler daughter for a couple extra hours because you need some solo attention (because that makes you a bitch, ladies and gentleman). But, lo and behold, while I'm over here in my mind trying to figure out how to get a few hours of alone time, little E got sick. And I got a whole day. A whole, blessed day of alone time. And it made me sigh a sigh of relief. Nobody wishes for a little girl to get sick. But I did wish for alone time. And trust me, I totally indulged. 

I guess what I'm thinking here in this little ol' head o' mine is that maybe there's always someone on the other side of the blessing. Or maybe, if you believe in karma, there's only so much good that can go around at once. Ying and yang and all that shit. It's not about the universe intentionally having it out for you. What I wish is that when I'm down and depressed and crying about "why me" someday, I can remember this post and maybe turning my thinking upside down for 30 seconds will help me remember that in my time of trial, someone is getting a much needed break. Maybe. And I can't say that this post explains why bad things are happening in Syria or why there are still school shootings. Maybe there's a difference between our perception of bad and true evil. But maybe the little blocks help build the bigger picture. And if we practice our understanding of how God is present in the little, every day things of our own life we might one day see Him in the bigger picture.

Why do bad things happen to good people?
On a scale of one to ten, how needy does this post make me sound?

Basically, what I'm saying and noticing lately is summed up by this song lyric:
"To realize that your future is somebody else's past."
-my main man, Lupe Fiasco

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Blogmopolitan Quiz

December 16, 2013

Because we all love a good quiz and (at least for myself) dreaming up what we would say should we end up on Ellen as a huge star, I wanted to participate in this great Blogmopolitan Quiz floating around. And also because my weekend update consists of three things: snow, work, Hallmark Christmas movies. Repeat.

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This is also a good answer to "style." In Michigan, style is whatever is warmest. 
And reppin' those sorority letters. Because they never go out of style. 

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Christmas Around the World

December 12, 2013

One of my absolute favorite things to look forward to every Christmas season is the Frederick Meijer Garden's Christmas Around the World event. They have around 40 trees, and decorate each tree as a different country. It's so much fun to read the signs, learn about the traditions and see all the detail they put in. I gotta hand it to them, they spare no expense in this event. And now enjoy this photo dump of some of my favorite trees!
Ukranian Christmas
Spider webs? Tradition has it that once upon a time, a pinecone dropped from a tree outside a family's home and started taking root. The children of the house were thrilled and couldn't wait to decorate it, but the parents were extremely worried because they knew they were too poor to ever afford decorations. The spiders within the house heard them, and during the night decorated the tree in beautiful webs that shone like silver. In Ukranian culture, spiders and webs are seen as a symbol of good fortune and good luck.

Mexico Christmas
 M would like to confirm that this is NOT how Mexcians decorate their trees, and never has he ever seen a pinata on a Christmas tree. He refused to take a picture next to it because it was so culturally inaccurate. what a shame, I kinda like the crazy pinatas.

Africa Christmas
Africa only got one tree because the whole continent is the same, le duh. 
This is supposed to be representative of life, as every single element of the tree they pick can be used for something different--leaves, trunk, roots, etc.

 Traditional Victorian Tree
Victorian Christmas

Russia Christmas
Big fan of the Faberge eggs, not a fan of the creepy dolls.
Side note: I am always surprised by how many countries decorate with DOLLS. WHY?!

 American Indian
Native American Christmas
Or as M likes to call it, "the real Americans' tree." Because even after 700+ years, we are still not real Americans. Womp womp culture.

 Apparently they like to decorate with shells and fish ornaments in celebration of the coral reefs that surround them. 

Denmark on the left, Sweeden on the right

Finland Christmas

Netherlands Christmas

Japan Christmas


Other Random Pretty Things

How do you decorate your tree? 
White lights, colored lights? Tinsel or no tinsel?
Do any of your decorations hold cultural significance for you?

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Female Periods, Male Perspective

December 10, 2013

Today we're going to talk about something that, surprisingly, for a community filled with women rarely comes up unless someone pays us $80+ to post a photo of a tampon. Periods. We're talking about periods today. (And no, someone didn't pay me to write on this topic and there won't be any pictures of products to buy. Lo Siento.)

I'm one of those women who has been blessed with mild periods. Super mild. Aside from the occasional headache and aching...body parts...they usually pass with just mild annoyance. But sometimes...the holy wrath of Female Woes comes down upon me and decides to make me pay for months of only mild discomfort. And when that happens, it is inevitable that I am scheduled to work at a job that requires smiling and standing and running around and smiling and standing some more. Meanwhile my insides are dying and I'm a hot mess of hormones and pain. And this is just a little insight into what that day looks like, from the eyes of the men I work with--poor souls. 

Jeff, the bartender
Autumn, normally very upbeat and happy, walks in looking like a ray of death. Normally she says hi. What does she say this time?
"Where the f**k is everyone?"
Like excuse me, who am I? Am I no one? So I just ignore her. 
Until I'm in the back and hear this atrocious banging sound. I come out front and Autumn is trying to clean the candle votives of useless wax by banging them on the counter. Physically banging them. 
She just looks up and flatly states, "this isn't working" and hands me the whole tray of dirty votives. 
Well of course that's not working. 
She never did say hi. 

Gabriel, the official bread-cutter and salad-maker
I put the bread on the shelf and say "Autumn, bread."
To which she promptly twists around and says 
"Oh really? Is that what that f***ing is? I had no idea that's what bread looks like."

"You look like you want to eat me with your eyes. 
Every month, this happen to the woman. 
You look like you want to choke me, to kick me. 
Oh, this is funny to you now?
Every month. Every month. 
I just say ok.
These things happen."

Shamari, the dishwasher
"Oh, you're not feeling well?
Tell you what you do girl, 
you get yourself a big bottle of Jack D and a few blunt--no?
Ok, well just get some whiskey and put some tea in it. You feel no pain no more baby girl."

And that my friends, is what the female period looks like according to the eyes of my male coworkers. Share your related funny stories below, or just general commiserations. 

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Anatomy of a Nativity Movie

December 9, 2013

It's become somewhat of a tradition (two years running strong...traditions gotta start somewhere!) that every year my niece and I make a video about the nativity story. You may remember last year's, where the epic narration included commentary that Mary "loved all the attention." I am nothing if not historically accurate. So, this weekend, we took time to make another one. In case you were wondering, here is the anatomy of our nativity shoot. 

Materials needed:
(3+) stuffed animals
1 christmas tree
1 chalk board
1 tent
3+ bundles of fake foliage
(3+) dog leashes 
(because nothing allows as much freedom building as a dog leash, duh)
1 baby doll
2 willing children
1 fully charged camera phone
3 cups of hot chocolate

3 attempts were made at this video.
It took 25 minutes to set up.
10 minutes to shoot (all 3 attempts).

The final product:
I think that besides the flying bed landing on baby Jesus' head, my favorite part of the video is when Emma goes "Everything we needed, we thought--points to cheeks--and we made." Because naturally, your brain is in your cheeks. That's why your cheeks are so big, right Aunt Autumn? Right. 
Of course I had a sheer moment of panic when the whole process only took a combined 30 minutes. HOW DO PARENTS DO A FULL DAY?!?! So I turned to the only thing I knew. McDonald's Happy Meals and two Christmas movies. Bada bing, bada boom. 

How was your weekend?
Do you have any holiday traditions you look forward to?

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Five on Friday

December 6, 2013

I think all bloggers can relate to the fact that some days, you don't necessarily have the most pressing issues or funniest things in the world to write about...but you just want the theraputic typing to start the morning off right. So I present to you, in no certain order, The Unreal Life's Five on Friday. 

1. Dear Migraine: It was a good two days, and I'm sad to see you go. But not really. You really are the worst type of sickness because I can't watch TV or read without feeling like vomming halfway across the room. I'll miss you, until next month or the month after when you come again. And I can feel you watching me type for real, get gone biatch. Love, Autumn

2. Though of course I just found this little pinterest gem on curing migraines....gonna save that for a miserable day.

3. Sometimes I wonder as humans why we let doubt creep in and spoil so much of what we have. What is it about that little tiny voice that we just let it slip in? When I recognize doubt's presence, I feel like I've already set myself up for disaster. Are there mental exercises you do to keep doubt away? 

4. I've been filling out a lot of job applications, that are going nowhere. They never call back. But I try to remain optimistic and savor my coffee just a little bit more and burrow just a little bit deeper into the couch for my noontime splurge of Nashville. Because one day one of them will go somewhere, and then I won't have Nashville at noon. 

5. My little shirt from Miss Whitney came yesterday, so obvi I had to selfie so hard in front of the Christmas tree. It is legit the softest thing I've ever worn. Is it weird to hope it provides a little inspiration to get back into the bloggy swing of things? 

What are you looking forward to most this weekend?!
Happy Friday, friends!

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December 5, 2013

It's been busy. To say the least. The very least. It's the last week of the semester, and finals are looming just around the corner. All I want is a dark room, a Hallmark Christmas movie and some hot cocoa. But of course, life goes on outside of school as well. And in one of those pesky "I don't have time for this!" moments that dominate the end of the semester, I was attempting to regain some semblance of order in life by tidying up. Good intentions, trash bags. 

Which got me thinking. What I wouldn't give for a delivery service of trash bags. Because nothing is peskier than those certain items that you only need ONE of, and yet never seem to remember when you are actually at the store. And then when you DO need them, you're more likely to say "eh, eff that!" because there's just something about having to drive all the way to the corner for that ONE item that just really rocks your boat and says NO, NO MORE. How badly do my contacts need to be clean? NOT BAD ENOUGH. How badly do I really need to throw this crust of bread away? LIVE ANOTHER DAY, BREAD CRUST. 

Anyways, here's my list of those pesky items I refuse to drive to the store for when I need them, but would happily pay for someone to deliver: 

trash bags
cookie dough
contact solution
body wash

I hear there's a simple delivery solution: a personal Dorota. Or a husband. I'll hold out for Dorota. (But not for a grocery list. Dream a little bigger darlings, get your Dorota today!)

Do you have pesky items you never seem to remember to stock up on?
What would you pay to have delivered to your house?

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Dream Interpretation: Glass

December 3, 2013

It's time for another round of:
What's that mean, dream?

The dream:
I'm at lunch with some friends and I go to throw away my plate. 
As I throw it away, I start coughing and then feel something sharp in my mouth. 
I pull it out and it looks like a little white piece of tooth. 
I'm immediately terrified because I went to the dentist earlier in the day (in dreamland),
and I assume they must have chipped my tooth and now it is crumbling in my mouth. 
But then I start coughing...and coughing and coughing and coughing
and I spit all the sharp pieces out into my hand. 
They turn out to be a massive, massive, palm-size, two-inch-tall ball of GLASS SHARDS.
I run over to my boss (because in dreamland it's totally normal to have lunch with your boss)
and show her my palm full of glass. 
"Oh my gosh," she says, wrapping her hands around mine. "Do you remember when I asked you to go put that glass in the dishwasher?"
"Well did you?"

And then the slow dawn of realization....I ATE THE FREAKING GLASS. 
And THEN, to add insult to injury, my boss asks me if I'm still good to work that night.

And then I woke up because I was literally gagging in real life at my own dream. 
True story.'s Interpretation:
Glass "highlights your vulnerability, confusion and frailty. Alternatively, it may symbolize your hurtful and cutting comments. Perhaps you need to be careful in how you phrase and word things or run the risk of offending others."

Eating with others signifies harmony and intimacy.

To dream about your boss represents the bossy or authoritative side of your own personality.

So, according to I am a bossy, mean woman who struggles to communicate unabrasively, and yet...surprisingly intimate and harmonious. 

How would you interpret my dream?
Had any strange dreams lately?

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Young Professional Nightmares

November 26, 2013

You know what sucks about being a young professional? 
Almost everything. 


But after a full day of updating my resume and all that other young professional are a few of the biggest nightmares I've found. 

1. LinkedIn
Really? I just sent you a beautifully formatted PDF of my resume and now you're going to double check my shitty electronic version of it as well? 
Are you kidding me?
Just ask for one or the other. 
And people who have strict requirements that don't enable you to send connection invitations unless you know 5+ of the same people, etc., etc. YOU KILL ME. 
You make me feel like a stalker. 
I just met you yesterday, let me connect damn it. 


2. Networking
Everything is a networking event. 
The word itself holds connotations of awkward corners, sweaty palms and stale cookies. 
I tried telling my sister once (pre-M, of course) about how I couldn't tell if this person was interested in going on a date or just like...being friends. 
She goes, "either way, it's great networking. You never know what could happen in the future."


So now I not only have to vet my potential dates for longevity, quality and potential love match I also have to keep them in mind for NETWORKING?!?
"How do you feel about adopting children? 
Aaaaand...what do you look for in potential employees?
Are you hiring?
No no, not the girlfriend position.
Second date? 
I'll give you a second date for a first interview.

3. Time suck.
The time suck that is being a young professional. 
I can't even begin to describe. 
You can spend all day working on your resume, your online presence and filling out applications and 


You look at the clock and four hours have gone by. 
You know you were working diligently. 
But besides a stupid LinkedIn profile,
there's really nothing to concretely show for that time.
It all seems so...trivial. And yet, hello, there goes your whole day.

I need a glass of wine. 
Good grief. 

What are your young professional problems? 
Tweet that shit with #YPP

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Dear Starbucks, and other shennanigans

November 25, 2013

I want to talk about this. 

Every time I went to Starbucks in Missouri, EVERY TIME, every time for A YEAR....they would write "Ana" on my cup. I have slurred, blurred and twisted my tongue every way possible to try and figure out how they got my name into Ana. And this happened yesterday. Brand new--Atum. Up and atum! But the real thing that just boggles the that no matter what they write on my cup--Ana, Anna, Atum--they always call it right. How do you look at a cup that says Ana and go, that's right, this is actually Autumn? And usually it's a different person. The cashier writes it, the barista calls out "Autumn!" WHAT? Is there a secret Starbucks name cheat sheet by the milk foamer? 

Anyways. Besides that this weekend, I worked worked worked. Slowly burning my finer pads off on too hot dishes. Saw the new Vince Vaughn movie--some good laughs, some good tears. I went to breakfast with my two favorite Mexican divas. And drove down to Kalamazoo for some quality AAC time. Each of our Pi Phi chapters is served by a group of alumnae, who generally make sure the chapter is functioning, the girls aren't dying, etc., etc. It's a lot of fun. 

I worked my last lunch on Friday. Of course, now that the semester is over and I actually have free time, the restaurant decides not to be open for lunch anymore. So, let's see how all this daytime-freetime works out. Maybe I can actually manage more than two posts a week, say whaaaat.

How does Starbucks mess up your name?
Do you think they have a name cheat sheet?

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Move Over, Carrie: Approval

November 23, 2013

Move Over, Carrie is a witty, whenever-I-feel-like-it series of The Unreal Life
where I talk about the sociology behind relationships. 
No pictures, no GIFs--just writing. 
If you're new, you can check out the first Move Over, Carrie here

It's safe to say that M has gotten more invitations from my friends than I have. This week alone, he has been invited to a birthday party, a housewarming party and a holiday party. His schedule is gettin' a little full. And in only one of these invitations did I say, "Yes, it is actually important to me that I meet this person."
"And what if I don't want to?" he said. 
"Excuse me?"
"What if I say no? Are you going to force me?"
"Why should I have to force you? If this person is important to me, and I'm important to you, 
wouldn't you just want to go and meet them?"
"I want a relationship with you, not your friends."

Which leads us to today's topic. When it comes to meeting friends and family, what's your "approval process"? How much approval is really necessary? 

I was getting drinks with a friend who sat and grilled me about M for an hour. As I've explained before, M and I come from extremely different socioeconomic backgrounds. The friend asked me, point blank, if I would be ok introducing him with his current job title to my friends. 

And it just struck me as odd. This idea that he should have to pass anyone's approval but my own. I've heard it argued that you should introduce your boyfriend to as many friends and family as possible because they "know you better than you know yourself." And to that, I say bullshit. No one knows me as well as I know me. And if the reverse was true and I could honestly say "My Dad/Mom/Sister/Best Friend knows me better than I know me"...then maybe I'm not ready for a relationship. But no one knows my inner thoughts and desires but me. Plain and simple. And for them to think that I am incapable of vetting my potential boyfriend myself is slightly offensive. It implies that I am incapable of being both romantic and rational, in a relationship and individual. Sure, lust clouds lots of things. But when the lust falls away, you better believe I am more than capable of vetting my own potential boyfriend. 

And regardless of what your friends say...I think we all know that when push comes to shove you're going to do what you want to do. We've all been through high school. You're going to date that bad boy, kiss that other one and potentially marry a nerd who everyone secretly rolls their eyes at. So what's the point? What's the point of putting everyone through that approval process?

I've also heard it said that it's necessary for friends and family to approve because "they're the ones you'll be spending the most time with." Again, I call bullshit. From watching what I know of my sisters and other married friends...the majority of the time is spent one on one, alone, as a couple. It's not constant dinner parties and barbecues. 

So I guess in the end, I wonder why we choose to let other people make our approvals for us. Shouldn't our approval be the only one that matters? Because in the end, we're the ones held responsible. If this relationship goes terribly awry, I can't point to one of my friends and say "but you approved!" It's my actions, my responsibility. How would things change if instead of first meetings being this awkward strain of approval withholding or giving, they were celebrations? Congratulations, Autumn has really, truly found you to be someone who could mean a whole effing lot to her which must mean you're very smart, caring, responsible, loyal and loving. Because we know Autumn will never settle, and therefore we don't need to make you run the gauntlet. Welcome, have some cake. 

What role do you let your friends and family play in picking your potential husband? 
Is there someone who's approval you absolutely must have?
What motivates your desire for approval?

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A Blogger's Guide to Surviving the Holidays

November 20, 2013

It's not every day you get the chance to partner up with bloglandia's finest, Miss Taylor Grace. Trust me, when she is a big star on SNL...I will #throwbackthrusday this post every week until she acknowledges our shared blogging past. Mwahaha. Just kidding. But not really.

Anyway, thus we present to you, A Blogger's Guide To Surviving The Holidays.

Suggestions from Autumn:

#1. Don't fret about any holiday weight gain. Remember, there's always a fabulous "How I Lost My Holiday 15" series in your future. The blog posts that will come from this will tide you over for at least two months.

#2. When in doubt, just add glitter--gold glitter. With all the instagramming and photo-taking, we know you feel the pressure to make sure your house is up to Pinterest par. That's why we suggest keeping a large cannister of gold glitter around. Missing a decoration? Put gold glitter in a vase. Did your niece clumsily paint you a pumpkin for the table centerpiece? Put gold glitter on it. Have some leftover corn no one will eat? Glitter that shit.

No, seriously guys...I found gold glittered corn on pinterest.

#3. The higher the cool whip, the closer to God. But it doesn't count if you don't instagram it.

#4. Practice your elevator speech to explain to Grandma how you've been spending your time outside of work lately. Avoid the buzzwords "online community" or "girlfriends" which may send her into temporary panic.

#5. Remember that unfortunately, you're on your own for the next 48 hours. See, here in blogland we all know that we live with perfect significant others in our perfect families and will have nothing but perfect Thanksgiving dinners with zero drama and only mildly-humorous tales to share on our weekend updates. So, stick to the script ladies. Chins up, smart phones out and....Happy Thanksgiving!

*Bonus # 6. Think realistically about how many New Year's Resolutions you'd like to set. Remember....we'll all be following along in our weekly resolution updates.

Suggestions from Taylor:

#1. Never forget the big C! As in charge. Charge your phones, charge your cameras, charge every damn thing you own. Because if you're not able to document the beautiful center piece you made or the wonderful green bean casserole you're about to eat, it's as if it never happened.

#2. Nothing says the holidays like red lipstick and a top knot. Don't even fret with trying to curl your hair (it will just get hot when you cook anyway) just twist that baby up into a bun on the very top of your head and you'll be golden. Finish the look off with the boldest color of lipstick you can find and no one will even be looking at your hair, anyway.

#3. Prepare for the "are you going to blog about this question?" Because you're going to get it and it's best answered with an enthusiastic "you betcha!" and a thumbs-up, rather than an eye-roll and an apathetic looking "doubtful" response.

#4. Dogs and babies. If you don't have either, now is the time to capitalize on the ones around you. I don't care if they're your aunt's, or your cousins, or the homeless man next door, if you've got a chance to take a photo with a cute baby and a cute dog in a Christmas sweater you need to take advantage of the moment. According to a poll done by Buzzfeed, Instagram photos with either babies or dogs in them are 87% more likely to get more likes. More likes=more fulfilled life.

#5. Remember you're only as good as your last post.... So while it's okay to take a day or two off from blogging during the holiday season, just don't forget Jenny Blogger next door probably isn't taking a day or two off... She's already knee deep into a pile full of chevron wrapping paper just waiting to be posted. Take that for what you will.

*And if you haven' realized yet that I'm joking I'm hate you.
*And I made up that stat about dogs and babies, obviously.

Happy Holidays, bloggers! Let's make this the best one yet!

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Customer of the Week: Dating Advice

November 18, 2013

Once upon a time, Michael Cain, Brad Pitt and pre-fat Jonah Hill--as they requested to be called--walked into a restaurant. And they became fast friends with their favorite waitress in the whole wide world, me! 

As I struggled with the wine bottle (per usual) they decided they needed to know a little bit more about this poor weakling who was standing at their table with sweaty hands for so long. So they asked me what I was doing in Grand Rapids, etc which naturally followed to what kind of charity I would ultimately like to work for. Ideally: Catholic Charities West Michigan. Oh you're Catholic, they said? Why yes, yes I am, I said. They were too (hollah). Which then led, somehow, to a rather deep discussion of the adoption process and the birthmother's psychological state before she proceeds. Which of course, we all know I have some pretty strong opinions on. 

And that kind of threw their dinner into a serious tone, as the youngest (pre-fat Jonah Hill) told me later. So of course...cue Catholic guilt. I felt bad having thrown their dinner into such dismal tones, so I told them I had a more light-hearted story to share. 

I told them about the ketchup-licking incident

Which of course led to...tell us more dating disasters!

Which led to the bong story. And the Bass Pro Shop story

And then they needed to do I meet these people?

And then, after that, they invited me to sit down (who am I kidding, I was already sitting) and offered some sage advice on dating. They were quite, quite concerned for me after these stories. 

Here is their advice. Girls are ten times hotter in church. Therefor, you are far more likely to meet a boy in church. The end. Oh, and pray. Pray hard. 

Their father (Michael Cain) showed me a gorgeous prayer card he carries in his wallet every day, but said I couldn't have it. Just that I should memorize it right there and pray it every day. Of course, determined to outdo their father, Jonah and Brad emptied their wallets of all the things I could have. Which included a one dollar bill, a guitar pick and a three-punches-away-from-full Zoup rewards card. 

And that my friends, is my weekend tale of how I went from failing at opening a wine bottle to getting dating advice and a Zoup rewards card. And that my friends, is their weekend tale of how they went to a restaurant for family dinner and came out with the waitress' blog address so they could keep track of her dating disasters and any future wedding updates. 

How was your weekend?
If you've been a waitress, what's the best thing you've ever received as a tip?

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These Things Happen

November 13, 2013

This is truly an appropriate Hump Day post. 

I spent all day yesterday typing the most magical collection of bullshit sentences ever composed into a six page paper. One of those bullshit pieces where you're not sure if you want the teacher to call you out on your total bullshit or if you want to get away with it. 

I thought I had gotten away with it. 

Until I handed it to my friend minutes before turning it in so she could skim the bullshit and get a few laugh. Well, she got a few laughs. And a few laughs turned to streaming tears from both of us as we found the most glorious typo I've ever turned in. See, I had italicized something as a note to myself. A "I know this can be said in a better way, I'm just not sure how yet" visual cue to myself. So right there, in the middle of my already-submitted-electronically, ready-to-hand-in paper, is this:

These things happen. 

THESE THINGS HAPPEN, PEOPLE. We couldn't stop laughing. So much so, that during our five minute break the professor came over to ask me if I was ok. THESE THINGS HAPPEN. 

Today, the library emailed me to tell me I have a $50 fine in overdue books. Apparently, it's a $1/day. THESE THINGS HAPPEN. 

I spell restaurant a different way, wrong, every single time. THESE THINGS HAPPEN. 

Happy hump day. 
Have any "these things happen" moments lately?

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5 Ways to Win a Wedding

November 12, 2013

Hello lovebugs and lovebirds and other humans reading this blog. Today we're doing a wonderful, wonderful thing called congratulating my friend Alison on one month of marriage. Alison and I are sorority sisters, and we first met because she fed me cookies after my New Member test (winning) while commiserating over the chemistry department (Alison winning, me not so much). 

If you have to attend a wedding solo, here are 5 ways to guarantee a wedding win:

1. If the theme is cake, try all the cake. Three flavors is three flavors too AWESOME. Get in there girlfriend, and get that cake. It's all in the name of celebration. 

2. Shut the dance floor down with your favorite undergrad cohorts...and grandma. Because the only person who should be stomping louder to wagon wheel than fraternity and sorority boys is the best grandma ever. Period. 

3. Be ordained as the official live tweeter and instagrammer of the event. 

4. Enjoy the snarky things the officiant says, and laugh loudly. Point in case: "I've never seen as many republicans in one room as at the marriage of Dan and Alison." Holla for yo' Hillsdale, homeboy. 

5. Catch the bouquet. 

So thanks, Alison my little love love, for planning such a fabulously fun wedding. And for answering the following questions about your first month of marriage! 

Describe a moment when you just knew you wanted to marry Dan. There's a lot of little moments. On the first night we really hung out together, when I was leaving it was raining and he kissed me on the forehead. Leaving me silly voicemails -- one time I think he said he had killed Santa. Oops. Being together doing practically nothing (read: me taking a nap and pretending to study physical chemistry and him actually reading) and being perfectly content. But I think the kicker is this: feeling like a part of you is missing when they aren't with you and that amazing peace you have when you are together.

What was your favorite part of your wedding beside the obvious marrying your best friend? Wearing my dress. I wish I could wear it every day.

What are three things you've learned in the first month of marriage? 1. You have to have enough food in the fridge to feed two people. This is kind of basic, but I've lived alone for the last three years, I am used to a pretty simple (read: cheap) diet. You can't feed two people on that, especially not when one of you is 6 foot 2. 2. You will still keep learning about the other person and teaching each other new things. The concept of folding socks was absolutely alien to Dan. This still astounds me. (He also loves how neatly I fold. It's the small things!) 3. Procrastinating with another person is way more fun than procrastinating alone. We have a Wii with Netflix now. We are completely useless human beings.

Any advice for couples spending the first few months of marriage semi-long distance? I try to keep a very similar schedule as what I used to before we were married so it's less "OMG I'm married and I'm alone!" because I was alone most of the time for the previous three years, so why is it really all that different? (Surprise! It's not.) I think that if we weren't able to see each other every week or every other week for a few days, it would be much harder, so we are definitely lucky in that respect. Don't let them realize that you haven't actually done dishes since they left. Be productive in your time alone. It's hard, but it doesn't do anyone any good for you to mope around while you're alone. Even if it is working on a hobby that your husband/wife has no interest in or spending time with your single friends, don't be a mopey Molly.

I need an embarrassing story. We're there any dates you went on with Dan that just didn't go right? We're not exactly good at surprises? Dan bought tickets to a Christmas show two years ago and wasn't going to tell me what it was until we got there but then he slipped in the parking lot of the restaurant before the show. Our college dates at his apartment were frequently interrupted by his two roommates. On Halloween, we went to get a snack from the kitchen and there were hussies dressed up as a bumblebee and a ladybug (??) flirting with his roommates. To be perfectly honest, we don't do a lot of "dates" because we're proud homebodies. We go out to dinner, try to behave ourselves in public, go home and put our PJs on.

Want to make your heart melt? The arrow on her bouquet is the official badge of our sorority, Pi Beta Phi. The chapter that Alison volunteers with as an alumnae advisor has a special "bride badge" that they have been giving to brides from the chapter for over a 100 years. 
Cue heart melt. I die. 

Thank you for letting me be part of your celebration. 
I absolutely adore you and your wonderful family, 
and would help your Dad set up a chocolate fountain any day. 

And don't forget to check out Alison's blog, Little Bunny Quilts. Because her sister (AKA my college roommate and bestie and #livedating friend) and her have this seriously UNREAL ability to make gorgeous quilts. Never have I ever wanted a quilt....until I met Amanda and Alison (and their mom). 

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Move Over, Carrie: The List

November 9, 2013

Move Over, Carrie is a witty, whenever-I-feel-like-it series of The Unreal Life
where I talk about the sociology behind relationships. 
No pictures, no GIFs--just writing. 
If you're new, you can check out the first Move Over, Carrie here

Your comments last week were all so sweet and engaging, that I wanted to do a follow up. I hope you know that's why I love this series the most of anything I write on this little blog--your comments. They're always insanely interesting and personal, so thank you. 

Last week, I was concerned with how opposite is too opposite. But in reality, there was really only one opposite that kept standing out to me. Kept picking at my brain. Education. I couldn't get over it. And when I couldn't get over it, the Catholic guilt was all-consuming. Who doesn't like someone because they're less educated than you? Who says they want to do nonprofit work, but literally can't get past someone's education status? Waves and waves and waves of guilt, people. 

I talked to him about it. Awkwardly and pointedly and slightly tipsy. And again, was shocked by his answer. His answer was everything I wanted to hear, but didn't think I would. The next day we went to see his family, and his niece begged to do puzzles and flashcards and read books with me. His nieces and nephews were smart as a whip, and he told me all the things his brother makes them do so they'll continue on this good academic path. I asked if he planned to do these same things when his own daughter was old enough, and he replied of course, without a doubt. He was already saving for her college. And that dear friends, erased any doubt from my mind. It was a sweet, sweet exhale of worry. 

Because I realized the thing is, I don't care how much education he received. I care that now, as an adult man with a child, he realizes the value of education. He can't help the choice he made when he was 12 and in a country with completely different educational standards and resources, but he can help the choices he makes now.

And now to the real Move Over, Carrie part (because it's not just an update of my love life). The whole situation reminded me of those times as a little teenage girl when your friends or your mother or Cosmo asks you "What's on your List?" The List. The "I will only date a man who..." And I think what I realized is that you never know what you won't budge on until you're actually standing there (unfortunately). You can make a few sweeping generalizations, but new things are also uncovered as you grow. And I think I was surprised by how much I wouldn't budge. Because you're also told when you make strong statements about what you want from a relationship, "just wait until you meet the right one...things you want might change." And so the unwillingness to budge on this issue of the value of education shook me. I literally wouldn't budge. And now that I've seen it and identified it, it seems so obvious. Of course I need a man who values education. How blazingly obvious. 

It makes me wonder what else I won't budge on. What other things will get added to "The List." And not the list I made up in a sleepover about a joyful Christian who makes me laugh. But The List that life and time make. The Real List. 

What's on your List, real or sleepover?
Did you make one as a little girl, and how has it changed?
Have you ever been surprised by finding something 
you absolutely refuse to budge on in relationships?

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